Category Archives: OnContact

4 Tips for a Successful Sales and Marketing Alignment

gettyimages 622324734 4 Tips for a Successful Sales and Marketing Alignment

Sales and marketing. While both departments are almost always working toward the same overarching goals, they’re not always integrated or working together seamlessly. In some cases, organizations will devote time and energy to only one of these departments, without approaching the two functions as equally valuable. Below, we’ll go over some important tips to keep in mind when beginning the process of creating and sustaining a successful sales and marketing-aligned organization.

Goals alignment

As aforementioned, the goals of sales and marketing are almost always the same. At the end of the day, both areas of your organization are trying to accomplish company growth. And that objective can’t just be done by the sales team, and it can’t just be done by marketing alone. Both parties need to be integrated and work together to accomplish growth.

Another common goal between the two departments is lead generation and lead development. While marketing is commonly viewed as the go-to when it comes to bringing in leads, it also lies in the hands of hardworking inside and outside sales reps to fill the sales pipeline, whether that’s through relationship building, customer referrals, LinkedIn searching and contacting, etc. Ensuring you’re tackling the same goals is crucial to a workable, integrated organization.

Hold frequent joint meetings

Have everyone meet and get to know each other. It’s that simple. And there are a number of different ways to do this. Perhaps the easiest is with weekly or biweekly meetings. If you’re having a weekly sales meeting, it might be wise to invite the marketing department to sit in every other meeting. This way, marketing will have a better understanding of what sales is targeting and going after—it also gives marketing a chance to share where they’re going after leads and their current tactics.

There’s an even easier way to get the two departments on the same page, however, and it starts at the beginning. Having an onboarding meeting with both sales and marketing newly-hired employees creates an opportunity for communication and openness that might not be there without an introduction. A lot of the time, sales reps just don’t know exactly what marketing is doing, or how they’re helping, and vice versa. Having these open conversations and meetings is a great place to start the dialogue.

Utilize CRM

When you’ve got the same goals drawn out, you should also be sharing the same data and analytics. There’s no better way to share the progress of a campaign (or a sales pipeline) than with a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. By implementing this solution for your sales and marketing teams, you’re equipping everyone with the same data and the same visibility. There’s no hidden agendas, no lack of accountability.

Invest time together

In the end, the key to having a seamlessly working team of salespeople and marketers is being comfortable around each other and opening the lines of communication. Spend time together, and encourage team bonding activities between the two departments. When you’re actively working together, or you’re simply bonding over an out-of-office activity, you’ll be much more comfortable collaborating across the board.

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The Importance of a Social CRM Solution

gettyimages 628489906 The Importance of a Social CRM Solution

Social CRM, or a tool designed to seamlessly integrate the use of a customer relationship management tool with social media channels. This can take the form of many different things, such as the ability to engage in social media through a software solution, respond to customer complaints through a solution in real-time, or simply leverage and analyze social statistics through a CRM database. No matter what you’re using it for, social CRM has a lot of potential. Below, we’ll take a look at some great ways businesses (and especially small businesses) can utilize a social customer relationship management system to maximize their sales, marketing, and customer service efforts.

Enhanced analytics

Let’s start with the least obvious benefit of a social solution: better data. Did you know that having a social customer relationship management solution means you can get access to highly-detailed insights and metrics about your customers? We’re talking demographics, preferences, interests, buying behavior, and more. With that kind of data, your sales reps will be able to better understand their target audience and deliver an accelerated sales process by focusing on the leads that are authentic and carry a high probability of sale.

Collecting all of this social-centric data can also help out another major department in your business. Marketing is always looking for new metrics and ways to narrow down a target audience. Social data about your prospects and customers is just another tool which can be analyzed and manipulated into a highly-targeted and highly-effective marketing campaign.

Be in-the-know socially

Your customers are on social media, so, why aren’t you? There’s a strong chance your prospects and customers are already on social channels talking about your brand and your products, so what are you waiting for? With a social CRM solution, you’ll be able to listen in to what the customers have to say about your company’s product and if they would like to have any changes made to it. They’ll share their likes and dislikes as well. Social CRM will give you the chance to develop products your customers have been hoping to see from your business, even before they talk to you about it. Your sales reps can also take advantage by knowing the buzz words of the industry or by hearing what prospective customers are really looking to get out of your product/services.

Streamlined communications internally

Effective, cohesive communication is at the core of a well-run business. Social CRM can actually play a role in making communicative efforts throughout your organization a more streamlined process. With a social solution, everyone in your business can be on the same page with technology and access to customer records and social histories. This cross-departmental accessibility can be extremely useful when various departments need to collaborate and access the same real-time data. It can also help reduce any confusion that may arise when teams from various locations are trying to access or change the same information.

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CRM Software for the Real Estate Industry

gettyimages 546201672 CRM Software for the Real Estate Industry

Customer relationship management (CRM) can be a powerful referral maximizing tool, especially for the real estate industry. In some cases, real estate agents rely on Excel spreadsheets to manage their growing databases. They struggle to go beyond simply focusing on the names and numbers in their spreadsheets by focusing instead on building relationships and a referral base. Below, we’ll discuss some of the most influential features available through CRM software to the real estate industry, and how the enterprise solution can help out in sales, marketing, customer service, and more.

Marketing automation can prove useful

While postcards, billboards, and radio commercials are great, there’s no denying the power of digital marketing. In today’s era of digital, it’s all about email, search engine optimization (SEO), websites, and online leads. Are you ensuring you have the right tools to tackle these marketing mediums? With customer relationship management (CRM) software, you’ll have access to marketing automation solutions to help out in your overall marketing efforts, such as an email designer, customized marketing reports, and email marketing automation. You’ll also be able to utilize lead scoring and capturing technology to ensure your website visitors are being tracked and counted as qualified leads.

Never let go of past clients

When you’re working as a small business, or in this case as a real estate agent, it can be challenging to keep up-to-date with all of your clients, both current and past, in addition to prospects. Unfortunately, older clients might end up being neglected more than you’d like. Using a CRM solution helps remedy this phenomenon by allowing you the opportunity to create follow-ups and reminders. Simply set up a reminder through your customer relationship management solution, and you’ll get notifications for when it’s the next appropriate time to reach out. In addition, you’ll be able to set up a follow-up plan to automate the process even further, saving you time and keeping your past clients in touch.

Focus on the art of the follow-up

Following up is crucial in the real estate industry. You need to stay in touch with a multitude of prospects and clients, both former and current. Without a CRM solution, it can be overwhelming and unorganized. With one, however, you’re able to manage your entire database in one centralized hub of information. When you go into your system, you’ll be able to know who’s ready to be called among your list, who’s ready to be emailed, and the status of each of your contacts.

Referrals, referrals, referrals

Referrals can be a fantastic selling resource, and it’s never been easier to handle them than with a customer relationship management solution. Simply enter the names and contact information of any and all business owners and professionals you’ve interacted with, and you’ll be able to pull their data whenever needed. This feature can come in handy when a client asks you for a nearby professional’s information, or for the contact information of a nearby lender.

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Marketing Ideas for Businesses on a Budget

gettyimages 520916935 Marketing Ideas for Businesses on a Budget

We sometimes talk about marketing tips like we have an endless budget. For most businesses, that’s simply not the case. And for some, marketing doesn’t have a large budget at all. Below, we’ll discuss some budget-friendly marketing initiatives any business, no matter big or small can start implementing today.

Develop your website

In terms of your business’s overall marketing strategy, your website needs to be pretty high up there. A well-built website can bring in strong leads and inform your prospects and customers about the information they otherwise might not know of.

We can’t talk about websites without talking about SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO describes various tactics businesses frequently use to improve how their website shows up on search engines, like Google and Bing. Some examples of strong SEO practices include using focused keywords in your content, creating unique content related to your products and services, and ensuring your website is up-to-code in terms of its crawl-ability by search engines.

Establish a blog and update it consistently

Once you’ve established your company’s website and it’s got all the bells and whistles you need, it’s time to start writing. Creating a blog is a simple way to help with your SEO efforts, and all it takes is a little time and effort. The key is being consistent. If you’re going to start a blog on your company website, it has to have a purpose. Don’t just share content once every 6 months and expect any results—create a consistent content calendar and you’ll be on your way to success.

Start building your email list

Whether you’re looking for a free email management service or something for a small fee, you’ve got email marketing options. But in order to start your email marketing efforts as a business, you need to build a contact list. Have an opt-in section on your website, ask your prospects and customers via email if they’d be interested in being on your email list, etc. Once you’ve established a list, it’s time to start designing high-quality emails that generate leads and responses.

Focus on local search listings

No matter the size of your business, local prospects and customers are incredibly valuable. So why not make it easier on yourself to be found by them? This is where local search sites come into play.

First, we’d recommend ensuring you’re listed accurately on Google My Business. This is Google’s version of a local search listing. Once that’s established and claimed, you can begin looking into other local search niches, such as Yelp. These sites provide your business with a broader local presence and the opportunity for your customers to review your products/services.

Go social

Love it or hate it, social is here to stay, and there’s simply no denying the possibilities it can provide. Have a strong presence on the social media channels that make the most sense to your business. If you’re B2B, LinkedIn might be the most powerful tool, while Pinterest might not fit your industry’s niche.

Once you’ve established your channels, it’s time to start posting. If you’re blogging consistently on your website, consider publishing those pieces of content socially. Encourage your employees to spread the word, and you might pick up some decent website traffic.

Use demographics and psychographics

Do you know your target audiences? The people you’re desperately trying to turn into customers? If not, it’s time to define them in concrete detail. Creating target personas and utilizing demographic and psychographic information can prove extremely useful when you’re starting to market your business. Once you’ve established your key target audiences, you’ll have a much easier time catering your marketing tactics (think email marketing in particular) to your top prospects.

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The Importance of a Healthcare CRM Solution

gettyimages 537315268 The Importance of a Healthcare CRM Solution

Data, specifically accurate data is never more crucial than for those in the healthcare industry. Healthcare professionals rely on this information to personalize the treatment of patients, communicate more effectively between hospital staff and patients, and to ultimately make the patient’s experience one that’s effective and of high quality. That being said, it’s not an easy task. Healthcare systems and providers are dealing with a plethora of patients and information—they need a solution in place to help organize all of this. That’s where customer relationship management (CRM) software comes into play. Below, we’ll dig into some of the important facets of a healthcare CRM solution and why providers need to consider implementing one.

Personalize patient care

It doesn’t matter what industry you work in. If you’re working with customers, whether they’re clients or patients, you need to treat them with personalization. If not, they’re going to go elsewhere, and your retention will fail. It’s that simple. In the healthcare field, this has never been truer. If patients feel like they’re being treated like everybody else, and they’re not feeling unique to their doctor or their physician, they’ll look elsewhere.

With a CRM solution in place, healthcare providers have yet another tool at their disposal to help keep track of and retain their valuable patients. Rather than relying on outdated spreadsheets or another inefficient method, they rely on a centralized hub of information, able to be updated in real-time and accessed from anywhere. This level of flexibility and personal care is exactly what separates quality health centers from poor ones, and it’s the biggest reason healthcare providers need to consider investing in a CRM solution.

Manipulate and visualize data

So, you’ve got all of this data being collected. What are you doing with it? If you’re just collecting data and locking it away for safe keeping, there’s really no point. Take advantage of the influential data you’re collecting through the use of a CRM tool. Customer relationship management solutions have built-in reporting tools designed for this exact purpose: to help you make sense of the numbers. You can also create charts, graphs, and other visually-pleasing reports to share across your department, ensuring everyone can understand the data being shown.

Eliminate duplicate data entry

Again, another factor that’s most crucial to the healthcare industry. If you’re entering vital patient information into a database, including care and financial records, you must be able to ensure you’re doing it accurately. Entering duplicate information into the database may impact the quality of the care the patient receives and can have major negative impacts later on down the road.

Being such a major concern for this industry, it’s only common sense to consider a software solution which would help eliminate it. It’s true: customer relationship management software has deduplication functions in place to ensure the data being entered into the system is accurate and unique.

There you have it! If you’re interested in learning more about how CRM can benefit your business, please contact us today.

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The Powerful Benefits CRM Provides for Manufacturers

gettyimages 547536296 min The Powerful Benefits CRM Provides for Manufacturers

We often harp on the strong benefits of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for manufacturers.

But customer relationship management (CRM) software can provide just as many powerful opportunities.

A strong CRM solution can provide businesses with a detailed overview of a customer’s needs and requirements, insight, and visibility into the sales pipeline, relationship-building tools for manufacturers targeting suppliers, and much more. Below, we’ll go through many of the powerful benefits in place for CRM users in the manufacturing industry.

Detailed overview of the customer

A major concentration for those in the manufacturing industry is relationship management. Relationships are crucial to the success of a manufacturer. Fostering powerful connections with customers gives your business a leg-up on the competition (in an increasingly competitive field) by building retention and growing your business. CRM software offers a complete overview of your customer’s information and interaction history. If you need to quickly reference something related to a customer’s history, or if you want to know what their needs might be before the ask (cross-selling and up-selling), you’ll have a plethora of accessible data to back you up.

Manufacturing is going mobile

The days of sales reps sitting, glued to an office desk are far behind us. Now, sales reps from all sorts of fields (inside, field, etc.) are going out and building relationships with prospects and current customers. They need a software solution that will be responsive, flexible, and work wherever they need to work. This has never been truer than in the manufacturing industry. Sales within manufacturing are B2B and field-focused. Sales reps are more mobile than ever before and need to be in front of the customer to complete a sale. Imagine having access to a database of customer information while visiting a particular prospect, or being able to quote a product on-site for a prospect or customer. This type of flexibility can only be made possible through CRM.

Sales pipeline visualization

Manufacturers rely on a detailed, clearly-defined sales pipeline. Without visibility into this valuable funnel of prospective customers, there’s no chance at accurate forecasting and sales reps are left wandering, trying to close deals without the necessary reporting metrics. CRM equips manufacturers the tools needed to create accurate, influential forecasts, along with reporting and dashboard features to ensure a powerful and accurate sales pipeline.

Cross-departmental collaboration

Did you know? CRM software empowers team members across numerous departments to utilize the same database, the same collection of real-time data. When the data is updated in real-time and accessible to all, a natural push towards collaboration is created. A company whose departments are more collaborative than siloed is one that’s ready to grow and evolve in a healthy manner.

Are you a manufacturer looking to get your hands on some powerful sales automation technology? No problem. Contact our CRM specialists today to get started!

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Having a Baby and the CRM Evaluation Process

gettyimages 640224268 Having a Baby and the CRM Evaluation Process

In the process of making a lot term plan of finding and maintaining a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution, it can be helpful to look for support in similar activities. Finding more relatable, relevant processes and tying it to the evaluation can smooth things over significantly. One of the options can include the process of having and raising a child. This may sound crazy at first, but when you scale it down a bit, the parallels are uncanny. This is not to say they are the same; having and raising a child is much harder and more expensive, but is also much more fun and more rewarding. Let’s like at some of these commonalities.

  1. There are different stages throughout the process.

When looking at new CRMs, it is easier to break it down into stages. For example, stage one is gathering company data and knowing what needs are. Stage two is evaluating vendors and demos. Stage three is selecting one and stage four is implementation. In childbirth, it is done in stages as well as the birth process can be broken down into trimesters, where doctors can note the growth of the baby as well as learn things such as gender.

  1. Growing pains are to be expected.

There are plenty of pains when having a baby. Outside of the actual birth, there is morning sickness, contractions, and other aches. It is natural and part of a healthy baby growing. As in a CRM evaluation, there are growing pains in the evaluation and implementation. Gathering your data and pinpointing everyone’s needs can be a hassle, as well as getting everyone on the same page. While implementing, getting enough time and importing/exporting can be quite a pain as well.

  1. Multiple people are needed for a success.

While it may be easier to have one person focus in on the CRM software, it is always more beneficial to include others like the main users, management, and owner. Even if it is just for final approval, the more that see it, the more questions and precision of the evaluation. When having a child, it is also beneficial to involve more people. A doctor to monitor progress and tell you things like the gender and health of the baby, a supportive family to be there for you, and friends to help prepare you for the arrival of the new one.

  1. After everything is completed, you continue to spend time and money.

Once the child is born, the time and money continue as you can raise the child as your own. Albeit a huge investment, it does not have to be overwhelming, in part due to the support from other people. After a CRM is chosen, the same can be said. More money will be needed for support and updates as they come, as well as time to enter new data and maintain the system.

  1. The end result is always worth it.

The CRM software should be so much more efficient than the old system or process that you could never switch back even if you wanted to. A better ROI, more sales, more leads, and easier communication should be some of the benefits. The result is more worth it when having a child; the connection you have to your own flesh and blood is indescribable and if you ask, the most fulfilling thing they can do.

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Understanding CRM’s ROI

gettyimages 483955240 Understanding CRM’s ROI

A Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) costs money. It is something that might not be considered a need, but it is undoubtedly a want and sometimes, can be the difference between success and failure. So, although you may have been making calls and recording notes for free beforehand, do not count out a CRM software automatically. There are many variables that come into play after purchasing that can affect the outcome such as employee buy-in, configurations, and thorough, accurate data entry. But, if done properly, the return on investment (ROI) for a CRM solution can be endless. While there are many ways this can happen, let’s look at three of the biggest ones.

1: No leads will fall through the cracks and become dead.

The CRM will allow you to save and store every lead. You can assign a rep, task, or category to any lead so nothing will fall through the cracks and no more leads on index cards, business cards, etc. will fail to be contacted. This will lead to more business, further improving company revenue.

2: Storing orders and tracking them for opportunities is far easier.

Many times, when you get a lead, they are not quite ready to be sold. This is normal and to be expected at times, but the important thing is you can stick with them until they are ready to buy. With automated tasks, the ability to label a prospect under any stage, and assigning a rep to them, the ability to track opportunities is simple compared to other methods. Centralizing all this data for easy visibility is also important for managers checking up on employees.

3: More leads are generated for your company to sell.

Through email marketing and other promotional advertising, the CRM can generate leads for you if you can maximize your data within the solution. Now, you do have to create the campaigns and design templates yourself, but the tool makes it far easier than manually doing these processes. You can track who opened emails, who clicked links and automatically take back data from any forms filled into the CRM itself. These extra leads can pay off for a big ROI.

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CRM & Music

music CRM & Music

Everyone loves music. Some of us like country (living in Texas like myself, it is not a choice), others prefer rap, rock, pop, or even classical. Perhaps this phrase says it best, ‘Different strokes for different folks.” Whether it be the stroke of a piano key or a guitar, all music and songs have some things in common, despite all being unique. The same applies to companies, including your business, and how you use your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software for sales, marketing, and customer service. You are unique and different from all the others, but there are still some similarities that are consistent throughout. Let’s look at a few of these similarities.

1: A consistent message.

In music, this applies to a repeated chorus or the verses which all point back to it. Generally speaking, a song called, “Love Story” such as the one by Taylor Swift, would point to a couple that fell in love and shares their experience. The chorus, the verses all contribute to this central idea or theme, while expressing other views or ideas along the way. This mirrors how all companies use a CRM; the central theme is to generate business. This can be in the form of customer service (keeping current customers and their business happy), marketing (generating new leads with the intent to have them become paying customers), and sales (the actual process of getting a signed contract and income). Though they all handle different stages, they all contribute to the overall goal.

2: An agreed upon final product.

When you hear a song on the radio, that was not the first recording they ever made. There are usually multiple recordings, originals called demos, that involve changes both musically and lyrically. Look at the original demo of Oasis’ “Live Forever” compared to the final version; there is a huge difference. The artist singing may have written the lyrics and music themselves, but almost always there are multiple other people that contribute and agree on a final version. Collaboration in this sense is important. This collaboration to get to a final product is found in relation to the usage of CRM as well. For example, the Sales Manager and Marketing Manager need to agree on the defined stages of leads so that the employees under them can be consistent in labeling and passing on potential sales.

3: There is unity throughout.

In a typical song, there are a variety of instruments, but if there is a guitar and drums, you will find them throughout the song. There are occasions when a song features a short solo of a single instrument not used elsewhere like a saxophone, but these are few and far between. This consistency is more pleasurable to the ear. If you heard a guitar and drums in verse one, a saxophone and xylophone in verse two, and a piano and harmonica in the third verse, you would feel like it was three songs. In other words, it would be a big mess piled together. Your CRM should not work that way either. You need to treat it all the same way. All companies or people currently doing business with you need to be labeled as customers and treated as such. If you treat a customer like a lead, they may get mad. If you treat a lead like a customer, they may be turned off.

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How to Maximize Your CRM Software

gettyimages 534326194 How to Maximize Your CRM Software

If you have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software already, you know the great benefits it provides compared to a manual system. But, say there are a couple issues with it, and although for the most part, it gets the job done, it is still lacking in some areas. Regardless of whether there may be a better CRM solution out there, there are a few things you can do to better utilize your CRM today knowing in the future you can still be open to a new solution. Plus, by trying to make it work first with your current, you can save time and money since there is no need to start from scratch in looking, getting management buy-in, and financial approval. Let’s review some ways you can improve your current CRM.

Make a detailed list of shortcomings or missing needs.

The best way to get started is to make a list with what you need and what needs to be improved. This list should include all departments that use the CRM and any user can be consulted, especially if there are employees that use it differently. It will also help for future reference to rank the list based on importance or projected cost or ease to fix. You are ready to take the next step once this is done.

Make changes to dashboards, fields, etc.

Consult your IT department or the main administrators of the CRM solution. They will be able to configure any untouched dashboard setups or fields to better fit any areas that are lacking or absent if they are there. You would be surprised what may be behind the scenes. From there, that will hopefully help utilize the full system functionality and better improve your business.

Communicate with CRM provider to see if they have any features or options to fit.

When making changes internally is not enough, it can be very beneficial to reach out to the CRM vendor to go through the list in details and see what they say. There is no better source than the authors of the software. They will be able to in detail better fit your list with what the software can do beyond anyone internally. The communication and talks should be free as well so there is no risk in that.

Consider customizations to improve the CRM.

Unfortunately, you may find the CRM you chose does not have the capability to fit all your needs or improve on its shortcomings. If the software has open APIs, you can build a customization yourself to bridge the gap or even hire a third-party company to handle that for you. The CRM software provider can also build it for you. It will be a considerable cost regardless of the way you go, considering your own employees time is valuable, so weigh the benefits versus the cost and make the decision appropriate for your company.

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